Disasters

ALAN BIRCH

DISASTERS OF WAR ( after Goya )


The series of 83 etchings produced by Goya  from 1810-1814, based on his listening to accounts of  the Peninsular War (1808-1814 ) and his subsequent travels through war ravaged Spain, are rightly recognised as  a powerful and unbiased record of the horrors of war. The prints illustrate mans inhumanity and barbarity to each other in times of bitter and widespread conflict.The disasters are a general indictment of warfare and its tragic consequences for the individual, where the  abandonment of reason and  the disappearance of sense are to the forefront.

As a homage to Goya, I have retained the original titles and image sizes, using them to record and document the period from  September 11th 2001  to the present day.
Using modern technologies and access to media
images, to which we all have unlimited access, I have sought to give an unbiased overview of the period leading up to,during and beyond the U.S led invasion or Iraq. Some are all too familiar, leaving an indelible memory, whilst others are hidden on the internet The everyday weapons of brutal combat found in Goya’s prints   have been replicated and enhanced with the  products of modern technology, less visible but equally destructive.The low tech combatant  now looks to destructive  21st century technologies, smart bombs, laser-guided missiles and semtex.

The initial attempts to play out a modern combat from a supposed  “safe”  distance,  has seen conflict spread to the streets in Iraq and into America and Europe. Whilst the technologies and participants have evolved, the battle is unchanging with the defence of
regimes and ideologies still paramount.  With the onset of the new Millennium in this so called civilised world, it would seem reasonable that conflicts could be solved by diplomacy with resorting to war, but it would appear that nothing has changed in nearly 200 years. Leaders still see conflicts as having a  peaceful and logical conclusion, whereas  the reality is very different. One can only imagine the s the Iragi people, a victim of terrorist activity or

We are presented with a sanitised view of the  events in Iraq in the mainstream media, but the full horrors of the conflict can now be accessed through the internet. One can only imagine the suffering of the “victims” of the conflict whether that is the Iraqi people, attempting to go about their daily business  or the unfortunate targets of terrorist activity.
The initial attempts to play out a modern combat from a supposed  “safe”  distance,  has seen conflict spread to the streets in Iraq and into America and Europe. Whilst the technologies and participants have evolved, the battle is unchanging with the defence of
regimes and ideologies still paramount.  With the onset of the new Millennium in this so called civilised world, it would seem reasonable that conflicts could be solved by diplomacy with resorting to war, but it would appear that nothing has changed in nearly 200 years. Leaders still see conflicts as having a  peaceful and logical conclusion, whereas  the reality is very different.

Seen as a series these prints  tell the story of the evolving conflict, one which is unfortunately  far from over, they may also cause viewers to reflect on  future decisions.